The best agencies I work with understand something others don’t. They know the difference between marketing and sales, approaching both very differently, which creates a huge impact to growth and revenue.
What is that difference?
Marketing is what your agency does to get customers to call you. Sales is what you do once they call.
Marketing is Social Media, Networking, Content Marketing, Referral Generation, Beating the Bushes, Attending Clubs and Chambers, Setting up a booth at a local festival.
Marketing is the bull horn. Sales is the whisper.
Marketing is the lure. Sales is the hook.
Why do these distinctions matter?
Listen to these example. I have worked with agencies that have incredible sales people. I have seen them sell. When a customer is in front of them or on the phone, it is like magic.
They are likeable; they ask the right questions; they put the customer in a place of comfort and acceptance. They demonstrate value and ask for the sale. The customer feels like the agent is buying the policy for them. It’s amazing.
But they can’t get the phone to ring. They don’t have enough leads. Their close rates are really high, but can’t seem to talk to enough people. The pipeline is always sparse.
On the other hand, I have seen some shops with incredible marketing. Their internet presence is amazing. Google loves them. They have great storefront exposure. The phone is always ringing, but their sales are not great. They are not all warm and fuzzy, likeability is limited, closing a sale is awkward and difficult.
Both are separate skill sets, and both must be attended to with equal force.
So, what changes can you make to mimic the best agencies approach to marketing and sales?
1. Create separate strategies & goals.
Marketing: Ask: Who is my ideal customer? What can I do to reach that person? Then begin molding your current marketing around that target.
Identify what marketing activities you are doing today, then match to your customer target. For example: Social Media: Is it hitting that target? Content marketing: Are you answering the questions your target customer has? Networking events: Are you going place where you will find your customer? Lead Generation: Are the leads you are buying bringing you your target? Referral Marketing: Are your referral sources sending you your target customer?
Sales: Evaluate and Improve. These examples should help you prime the pump. What is my close rate? Have someone evaluate your salespeople. Work on areas that are weak. Do role-playing. If you are a sales manager, have friends do mystery shopping on your people. Have your best producers, model good sales behavior. Let customers evaluate you. What did you do right and wrong in the sales process.
2. Assign Marketing to a Specific Person. One secret of larger businesses is that they will separate out these functions to different departments, because the skill set is different. You can do the same in your agency.
Most agencies have sales people and service people, but very few have at least one marketing person. The ones I know that do, write a lot more business.
This person is responsible for driving leads, developing referral relationships, social media, customer contests, outside events, etc.
3. Measure. This is the only way you will know it is working. This could be a complex spreadsheet of close rates, contacts, marketing projects. Or it could be a whiteboard with a number of weekly sales and marketing efforts. You must measure so you know where to improve and possibly where to spend money.
No matter what approach you take, see these two tasks as separate with differing strategies. It will allow you to create separate successful systems, and you will see constant improvement in your bottom line.
Questions: Does your business have different strategies for marketing and sales? What are ways your approach differently that has helped drive growth?